Henrietta Cross Hatton Clark: Beginings


Henrietta Cross Hatton Clark

On Thursday, September 11, 2014, Henrietta is recognized by the North Carolina House of Representatives three days before her 100th Birthday. It read:

Congressional Record Volume 160, Number 130 (Thursday, September 11, 2014)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E1396]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




of North Carolina

in the house of representatives

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Mr. BUTTERFIELD. Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize Mrs. Henrietta
Hatton Clark, a beloved and respected constituent from Vance County,
North Carolina who will celebrate her 100th birthday on Sunday,
September 14, 2014. Mrs. Clark is a pillar of her community and is
highly respected by all those who know her because of her unwavering
commitments to God, her family, her church and the community and state
she has called home her entire life.

Mrs. Clark was born on a farm in Vance County, North Carolina on
September 14, 1914. She was the youngest of six children and was
adventurous at an early age. She attended elementary school in Vance
County and went on to graduate from Henderson Institute which was
operated by the Northern Presbyterian Church. Following Henderson
Institute, Mrs. Clark attended what was then Winston-Salem State
Teachers College, now Winston-Salem State University in Winston-Salem,
North Carolina.

Equipped with her teaching degree, Mrs. Clark set out to make the
world a better place one child and one classroom at a time by inspiring
children to dream big and work hard. She taught in Vance County, North
Carolina Schools for several decades and shaped generations of young
minds. She often told her students, “You can achieve any position if
you study, work hard, and believe in yourself.”

Mrs. Clark’s passion and drive did not stop when the school day
ended. She was incredibly active in her community. She led voter
registration initiatives and was an inspirational leader during the
Civil Rights Movement. She served on important committees that made
recommendations for state judicial appointments which empowered her to
help diversify the Bench. She also served as a Board Member for several community organizations. She served on Granville Community College Board of Trustees.

Mrs. Clark remains a very active member of Cotton Memorial
Presbyterian Church in Henderson, North Carolina. The church and its
members have been a persistent source of joy, peace, and happiness
throughout Mrs. Clark’s truly remarkable life. Likewise, members of her
Church and residents of the Henderson and Vance County community hold
Mrs. Clark in high esteem and are honored to know her.
Mr. Speaker, I ask my House colleagues to join me in sending warm regards and in wishing  Mrs. Henrietta Hatton Clark a very happy birthday.


This tribute to Henrietta illustrates the life of a Black Women Educator, community activist, wife, mother, and devoted family member.

Henrietta Beginnings

Henrieta is the youngest of six children born, September 14, 1914, to Anderson and Harriet Cross. Her father Anderson traced his roots to his father Samuel Cross of Griswold and Hartford Connecticut.

The Cross family are free Black persons from South Kingston, Rhode Island. And part of the Native Americans tribes in Narragansett Rhode Island. Their history goes as far back as 1750 beginning with West Cross. Samuel mother Rebecca Marrow is a slave until the end of the Civil War.

The Cross family patriarch West Cross witnessed the American Revolution and the origin of the United States of America. His life captured the social, economic and political transformation of American History in the18th and early 19th centuries. His prodigy helped forge the American Landscape.

Henrietta father Anderson is born about 1871 in Townsville North Carolina. Henrietta mother Harriet Terry is from the island of Ronake County on the Roanoke river bordering North Carolina. Harriet is born about 1872. Her father Alphonzo Terry is born about 1828 and mother Eliza Shank about 1839

Henrietta grand-father Samuel Cross is an educator and activist. He leaves his home in Hartford Connecticut to teach in Washington D.C. during the Civil War under the Freedmen’s Bureau. When his school closes for lack of funds he requests a teaching position in the District. It never materialized instead Sam is sent to Granville North Carolina where he opened a school at Bullocks Crossroads in Townsville North Carolina to teach former slaves.

While teaching he met Rebecca Marrow an ex-slave the daughter of Anderson and Lucy Marrow. They married on October 6, 1867. One year later they have their first child Anderson Cross n 1869. their second child Lucy AH Cross is born in 1870; Edie is born 1872 and James Weldon is born in 1873.

Samuel builds his school and begins teaching under the auspices of the American Missionary Association (AMA). Samuel believes he will receive a salary to support his wife Rebecca and son Anderson. His salary never came. He writes to AMA. In his letter of September 3, 1868, to Rev. Edward Parmelee Smith (Ed. P. Smith) General Field Agent for the AMA, requests his salary promised by Ed. P Smith.

Apparently, Smith had made Sam a “proposition” if Sam opened a school in North Carolina he would receive a salary. Sam writes, “…not hearing from you I write to let you know that on the 24th [August] I opened a school at the above-named place [N Bullock Cross Roads] and have 20 pupils …[and]24 mourners and one convert as a result of my labors.” “…Write me word whether you can’t send me some money as I am not getting any.” There is no response from Smith.

To support his family he closes the school and turns to barbering. It is unclear how successful he is as a barber but he does get employed as a tax collector for Townsville.

At the end of his employment as a tax collector, Samuel wanted to leave North Carolina and take his family North to Connecticut. But Rebecca parents, Anderson and Lucy dissuaded Rebecca from going with her husband in fear if she went her and the children might die from the croup.
Samuel G. Cross left his wife and four children with Rebecca’s parents, Anderson and Lucy Marrow, between 1874 and 1876. His only contact is with his son Anderson.

Anderson knew his father wanted to teach and had a job on a train that ran from Connecticut to Florida. Sam wrote to Anderson telling him when the train would pass through Townsville so he and Anderson could see each other if only in passing.

Samuel had no other contact with his family. He returned to Beaufort South Carolina where he had participated in the Port Royal experiment. It is suspected between 1866 and 1867 he went to South Carolina before going to North Carolina.

By 1878 Sam is working as a clerk for the Missionary Record. The Missionary Record is a Black newspaper which addresses racial discrimination faced by Afro-Ameican in their daily lives. Sam’s association with the paper put him in direct contact with South Carolina Black political leaders and AME ministers during the Reconstruction era.

Rebecca Cross and her children Anderson, James Weldon, and Lucy lived with her parents Anderson and Lucy Marrow until their adulthood.
James Weldon marriedLudie Moss and moved to Boyton Virginia, Luci married her first husband Davis and later Manning and relocated to Mount Vernon New York, and Anderson Married Harriet Terry remaining in Townsville North Carolina.

Anderson and Harriet have seven children; Rudolph, Elnora, Lucy, William (Babe), Bessie, and Eliza Beatrice. Anderson, like his father, resisted becoming a farmer. He decided to take his family to Mount Vernon New York in the proximity of his sister Lucy. At the time Rudolph is 8myears old, Elnora is 6, Lucy is 3, Weldon is one and Eliza Beatrice an infant.

In 1903 the family lived at 4115 Franklin Ave. Anderson worked as a Gardiner.
Anderson earned enough money to purchase a grocery store. From 1904-1905 the family moved to 405 Franklin ave in Mount Vernon.